The UK offers many different welfare benefits to individuals and families that are in need. Whether unemployed, disabled, caring for a relative or on a low income, there are numerous benefits available to help struggling people to pay for their housing and living expenses. While some of these benefits are well known, others are obscure and therefore many people remain unaware that they could make a claim.
Payments For Disabilities And Carers
Older people or people with severe disabilities who are unable to care fully for themselves can benefit from an Adult Social Care payment which offers help towards the costs of employing someone to assist with essential tasks like dressing and washing. Local councils offer this support, and therefore the amount of assistance available will depend on the area in which the claimant is resident. There is also an Attendance Allowance which is a tax free benefit for pensioners over the age of 65 who have a mental or physical disability and who require care. Carers’ allowances are paid to people who look after another person who, due to their disability, are unable to care for themselves. For those who have disabled children that need care, there is also a disability living allowance which is also tax free.
People who are on low incomes and who have important costs to meet often struggle to make essential payments. Many families with children are now living in poverty, and this can lead to a reduced quality of life, with increasing numbers of people having to rely on food banks and handouts to get by. Managing on a day to day basis is often hard enough, and life can be especially difficult when celebrations come around, with lots of families struggling to give gifts or hold parties. There are a few benefits available for low income families who are facing an emergency situation, with Budgeting Loans being one interest free option for people who have vital costs that need to be met, for example for clothing, travel or furniture. Crisis Loans are another similar option which are designed to help people out in an emergency where they are unable to pay for essentials. In the event of a cold winter, people who receive certain welfare benefits are paid Cold Weather Payments whenever the weather is forecast to be below freezing for 7 consecutive days at any time between November and the end of March in order to help pay for heating bills.
Families With Children
There are a few benefits which are designed specifically for lower incomes families that have children to help with the costs of raising a young family. Every parent, except those on the higher tax rate, can claim Child Benefit in respect of their children, while Child Tax Credit is available for lower income families on a sliding scale depending on income, number of hours worked and the number of children resident in the household. Furthermore teachers all around the UK need additional support to attentively take care of the children at school.
For people who are out of work, there are three options when it comes to claiming welfare benefits. Those who are suffering from an illness or disability but who have been assessed as being fit for work can claim Employment And Support Allowance which tides them over until they have found suitable employment. People who are temporarily out of work can register for Jobseeker’s Allowance which gives a weekly amount to claimants as they look for employment. There is also income support for people on low incomes but who have not registered as unemployed. For people who have been on long term benefits and who then move into work, there is a Job Grant in the sum of up to £250 to help cover the gap between the last benefits payment and the first pay cheque.
Help With Housing
Housing costs are probably the biggest expense in anyone’s budget, and there are several benefits designed to help people who are struggling to meet those costs. The Council Tax benefit helps people on a low income to meet their council tax payments, while Housing Benefit helps people who cannot afford to pay for their rent. A local housing allowance is also available for people who are private tenants but who need help in paying their landlord.
Although many treatments are available free of charge on the NHS there are some chargeable treatments which can be covered thanks to benefits. Those who need to travel to a clinic or hospital away from home can sometimes benefit from the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, while children and pregnant women can benefit from free dental care at an NHS dentist.
Older People And Pensions
For older people, there is the State Pension which is paid on a weekly basis to anyone who has reached the applicable age. Older people also receive a winter fuel allowance to help pay for their heating costs during the colder season and can take advantage of several other benefits including free TV licenses and free prescriptions. As an alternative they could be offered a small job in the public sector that could sustain them.